The Winchester Police Department (WPD) has launched an awareness campaign titled “Fight the Fraud Inferno” in order to educate residents about how to safeguard their personal information and protect their finances. From January 1, 2018 through July 31, 2019, the WPD received over 250 calls regarding reports of fraud and potential scams. Many reports of fraud cannot be investigated by local police, because scammers are difficult to track down and often live outside the United States.
Drug Landscape Shifts as Opioid Crisis Continues
Source: Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition
Law enforcement officials in the Northern Shenandoah Valley are seeing an influx of methamphetamine in the area. This year, more than 3,000 grams of methamphetamine have been seized by the Northwest Regional Drug and Gang Task Force. The methamphetamine that is being seen in the area is crystal meth, also known as “ice”, and there is a concern about the dangers of meth-related crimes due to the often aggressive nature of those using the substance.
The Winchester Police and Fire & Rescue Departments will host the annual Public Safety Trunk-or-Treat event on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 from 5:30-8:30 pm. The event will be held at the Shawnee Volunteer Fire and Rescue station, located at 2210 Valor Drive in Winchester.
On Wednesday, October 16, members of the Fire and Rescue Departments of the City of Winchester and Frederick County, along with government officials, will gather to recognize the groundbreaking of the Winchester Regional Fire and EMS Training Center.
Winchester Fire and Rescue Chief William Garrett said, “Although ground is broken and construction is underway, we felt it was important to recognize the ongoing collaborative relationship between our two localities.”
The Winchester Fire and Rescue Department will host the 2019 Public Safety Chili Cook Off, sponsored by the Winchester Fire and Rescue Foundation, on Thursday, October 24 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at the Rotary Shelter in Jim Barnett Park.
The public is invited to attend the free event to taste and vote for the best chili. Judging will begin promptly at 12:00 p.m. and the winners will be announced at 1:00 p.m. Prizes will include the Grand Kettle (first place), second-place medal, and third place medal as decided by the judges and the People’s Choice award as decided by the public.
Mayor John David Smith, Jr. has launched a new Excellence Award program to recognize and honor individuals, businesses, groups or organizations whose efforts in the community have showcased the City of Winchester as a great place to be; helped others in the community without hesitation or motive; made contributions or shown commitment to the betterment of the community; thought outside the box in response to societal needs; etc.
Since 1999, the City of Winchester, with assistance from Shenandoah University’s Environmental Studies Program, has worked hard to conserve the city’s unique and beautiful Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve. This year, the Winchester-Clarke Garden Club is joining the partnership with a significant contribution. Several activities will be conducted this fall to honor and maintain these important wetlands and the community is invited to participate.
The City of Winchester has been exploring options to improve pedestrian safety along Boscawen Street between Indian Alley and Cameron Street. Since the Loudoun Street Mall improvements were completed in 2013, the pedestrian traffic in this area has increased substantially and there are times when there are thousands of people enjoying various activities on and around the Mall. In order to protect the safety of pedestrians, three different improvement options have been developed for Council’s consideration.
The Winchester Emergency Communications Center has implemented a new text to 911 service for emergency calls made within city limits, however, residents and visitors are urged to call when they can, text when they can’t. Text to 911 helps those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have limited speech capabilities as well as anyone unable to talk due to an emergency such as a home invasion or a domestic abuse situation. However, there are some limitations that users need to be aware of and Text to 911 should only be used for emergencies.
The annual Old Town Winchester Oktoberfest, presented by Compass West Realty, returns on October 11th and 12th. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy German-inspired beer and food while experiencing sights, sounds, and traditions of Oktoberfest including a stein holding contest, costume contest, live music, accordionists, dancing and more. This event happens throughout Old Town Winchester, on the Loudoun Street Mall, inside the Historic Taylor Pavilion and on the Historic 1840 Courthouse lawn.